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Reviews from nymag.com
Posted by Hal F. on 08/29/2013
We ate here on Tuesday night and it was wonderful. I'm a New Yorker, eat out often and how people could say this place is mediocre is beyond me. We had a bottle of wine and shared the sea bass and a homemade pasta special that were both excellent. Finished up with dessert and espresso and it was a wonderful evening. Everyone is friendly and the service is spot on without being overwhelming. If you are looking for a top notch restaurant this place is well worth the trip! It is a bit pricy, but so are all the best restaurants in NYC!!
Posted by Lutece on 09/02/2012
Went here for a party of 8. Started off with a plate of grilled veggies which were nearly inedible. Fennel, eggplant zucchini that tasted like they came from the supermarket. In a rest with prices like this one would think they would shop locally and present a beautiful veggie plate with local, tasteful veggies this time of year. Next, the appetizer i had was octopus which I must say was tender and good. The salmon was good quality of plain with a side of decent broccoli rabe. The waiter raved about the veal chop and all it was, was a huge chop with nothing on it, no sauce, no mushrooms no nothing, plain. I can't say how it tasted because it was next to me on a friends plate. The sides were boring either plain roasted potatoes, spinach or broccoli rabe, no substitutions. The waiter was nice but kept stepping on my feet. A bit clumsy. Way too expensive for what it is.
Posted by anonymous on 09/27/2011
I went here for restaurant week expecting to be WOW'ed. I am Italian so I make pretty excellent food and this was not even in my league of what I make at home on a regular basis. Very expensive for what you get (including wine which is overpriced) and the back diningroom was filled with Carrie Bradshaw wanna-bes (there was a Sex n the City episode where she goes to this restaurant for her B'day). The tables in the front of the rest. are extremely small and close together. No privacy whatsover. Who wants to have a candle-lit dinner w/their sweetie crammed right next to another couple bickering? Totally not worth the price/hassle and I will not be returning.
Posted by Tweety Bird on 09/13/2010
Obviously my husband remembered Il Cantinori as a really special restaurant. We had not been there for several years. My husband is a tall man, well built, and in spite of a reservation, we were offered our choice of two tables for two! Very small tables and very crowded against neighboring tables. Also noticed couples being seated at tables for 4. Who can say why. The service was fine, nothing special, the food was fine but again nothing special. Prices were way too high for very ordinary fare. I will never go there again... at least not as my plan.
Posted by anonymous on 10/14/2009
I have lived in NYC for over 20 years and have been to this restaurant enough times to finally say it - it's overpriced and the food is bad! My cornish hen was dry and overcooked, the bread was stale, the complimentary bruschetta was a complete mess, the calamari tasteless. The service is so-so. The entire place reeks of lilies and bathroom cleaner. The bill certainly does not justify the experience. I hands down do not recommend it. Thank you.
Posted by hihello on 08/15/2009
I was meeting my friend for dinner the other night at Il Cantinori. I was the first to arrive, gave the host the reservation name and was seated at a table in the back with no view of the front. He said he would bring my guest back once she arrived. Turns out my friend was waiting 15 minutes at the bar. When she checked in and gave the reservation name the host did not inform her that I was already sitting in the back. Off to a bad start. We ordered, the food was fresh and quite enjoyable but the waiter was absolutely horrendous. He couldn't be bothered. I even heard him drop a few curse words at one point. I'm not sure if he thought no one could hear or he just didn't care? The food was great, but it's great a lot of other Italian restaurants too, ones that probably have much better service...
Posted by pejpm on 08/06/2009
I booked a table for two at Il Cantinori for my girlfriends birthday as she wanted to try it based on its popularity. We were seated promptly in the dining room at the back. I was slightly annoyed that our table was crammed behind two other tables due to a large party next to us which meant we literally couldn't get up without someone else having to move. They have certainly made the most of the space! The service was fairly good although the waiter wasnt particularly friendly and seemed to want to rush us. I ordered a drink and as soon as he brought it back (not 2mins later) he was asking if we were ready to order. He was competent though and obviously busy. My main gripe with Il Cantinori is the price you pay for what is fairly standard quality Italian. We shared a scallop starter followed by a pasta dish and then each had an entree. To accompany that we had a low price ($45) bottle of Pinot Noir. The check including tip came to nearly $200! My chicken Milanese (i.e. breaded chicken topped with salad leaves) alone was $28! I was disappointed as if the cost was more reasonable then it could be a decent restaurant, but as it stands Il Cantinori simply does not serve good enough food to justify the very high price.